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Content vs. Advertising: The Impact of Competition on Media Firm Strategy

Author

Listed:
  • David Godes

    () (Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

  • Elie Ofek

    () (Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

  • Miklos Sarvary

    () (INSEAD, 77305 Fontainebleau, France)

Abstract

Media firms compete in two connected markets. They face rivalry for the sale of content to consumers, and at the same time, they compete for advertisers seeking access to the attention of these consumers. We explore the implications of such two-sided competition on the actions and source of profits of media firms. One main conclusion we reach is that media firms may charge higher content prices in a duopoly than in a monopoly. This happens because competition for advertisers can reduce the return per customer impression from the ad market, making each firm less willing to underprice content to increase demand. Greater competitive intensity may thus increase content profits and decrease ad profits. These findings are in sharp contrast to those in a regular one-sided product market, in which competition typically lowers product prices and profits. We extend the framework to examine competition across different media (e.g., between magazines and cable TV) and show that firms in a duopolistic medium may benefit from more intense competition from a monopolist in another medium. We characterize the conditions for each firm in the duopoly medium to bundle more ads and earn greater total profits than the rival firm in the monopoly medium.

Suggested Citation

  • David Godes & Elie Ofek & Miklos Sarvary, 2009. "Content vs. Advertising: The Impact of Competition on Media Firm Strategy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 20-35, 01-02.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:1:p:20-35
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1080.0390
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Simon P. & Foros, Øystein & Kind, Hans Jarle, 2012. "Product quality, competition, and multi-purchasing," Discussion Papers 2012/9, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    2. Anderson, Simon P. & Jullien, Bruno, 2016. "The advertising-financed business model in two-sided media markets," TSE Working Papers 16-632, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    3. Daniel Halbheer & Florian Stahl & Oded Koenigsberg & Donald R. Lehmann, 2013. "Digital Content Strategies," Working Papers 329, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    4. Stühmeier Torben & Wenzel Tobias, 2012. "Regulating Advertising in the Presence of Public Service Broadcasting," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-23, June.
    5. Reisinger, Markus, 2012. "Platform competition for advertisers and users in media markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 243-252.
    6. Thöne, Miriam & Rasch, Alexander & Wenzel, Tobias, 2016. "Business models in commercial media markets: Bargaining, advertising, and mixing," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145785, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Hans Jarle Kind & Tore Nilssen & Lars Sørgard, 2009. "Business Models for Media Firms: Does Competition Matter for How They Raise Revenue?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1112-1128, 11-12.
    8. Casarico, Alessandra & Tonin, Mirco, 2018. "Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information: A Field Experiment on Motivation," IZA Discussion Papers 11366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Charles Angelucci & Julia Cage, 2015. "Newspapers in Times of Low Advertising Revenues," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/26t617gatp8, Sciences Po.
    10. Huang, Jian & Leng, Mingming & Liang, Liping, 2012. "Recent developments in dynamic advertising research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 220(3), pages 591-609.
    11. Anthony Dukes & Yunchuan Liu, 2010. "In-Store Media and Distribution Channel Coordination," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(1), pages 94-107, 01-02.
    12. H. Mirzaei, Fouad & Ødegaard, Fredrik & Yan, Xinghao, 2015. "User reward programs in online social media," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 57(PB), pages 123-144.
    13. Gregory S. Crawford, 2015. "The economics of television and online video markets," ECON - Working Papers 197, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Crawford, Gregory S., 2015. "The Economics of Television and Online Video Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 10676, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Anja Lambrecht & Avi Goldfarb & Alessandro Bonatti & Anindya Ghose & Daniel Goldstein & Randall Lewis & Anita Rao & Navdeep Sahni & Song Yao, 2014. "How do firms make money selling digital goods online?," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 331-341, September.
    16. Robert Seamans & Feng Zhu, 2010. "Technology Shocks in Multi-Sided Markets: The Impact of Craigslist on Local Newspapers," Working Papers 10-11, NET Institute.
    17. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:68:y:2017:i:12:d:10.1057_s41274-016-0167-2 is not listed on IDEAS

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